Traveling Cannabis Fair Visits Astoria

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A month after the rides went down, the blue ribbons were given out and the 4-H animals sold at auction, another type of fair came the Clatsop County Fairgrounds.

The Hemp & Cannabis Fair, a traveling, all-in-one display for one of Oregon’s newest industries, set up shop over the weekend.

Naomi Forkash, manager of the fair, said the idea is to bring knowledge about all things cannabis to the people. The fair is traveling around the state, next visiting Bend and Salem.

The fair brought speakers on the laws, effects, science and seeds behind cannabis. Vendors sold seeds, edibles, paraphernalia, growing and harvesting supplies and even insurance. It included some of the newer businesses that have popped up as a result of legalization.

Steven Lewis said he had been working for a company focusing on energy efficiency. He helped build a greenhouse in a friend’s backyard. Then the idea for My Urban Growhouse was born.

“We basically give you a complete turnkey grow system,” Lewis said.

Dawn Redlich, a representative of New Growth Insurance, said there are probably only three companies in the region providing insurance to cannabis-related business. She said her employers were working in the more traditional insurance industry, but saw an unserved market.

“Sadly, the reality is dispensaries are being robbed,” Redlich said.

Her company sends investigators to potential customers to check their business practices. If everything checks out, she said, New Growth will cover up to $2 million in case of theft.

Kevin Sikkink and Grant Thomas traveled from Minnesota to represent their company, Skunk Tees, started while they were college students.

Despite legalization and the history of cannabis and hemp cultivation in the U.S., Sikkink said he has to source his hemp and organic copper shirts from China because of the cost being about double domestically. Sikkink said he also faces the challenge of finding printers who will work on hemp.

Thomas said the irony is that while cannabis-related businesses love to be associated with hemp products, hemp companies are fearful of the linkage and its effect on business.

But the two said they are still finding a market in head shops and fairs. “We’re trying to be one of those early companies,” Sikkink said.

The only local sponsor of the event was Sweet Relief Natural Medicine, the first dispensary in the county. Gary Reynolds, a co-owner of the dispensary, said it’s important for local businesses to be present at such fairs and help provide knowledge to their customers.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Traveling Cannabis Fair Visits Astoria
Author: Edward Stratton
Contact: news@dailyastorian.com
Photo Credit: Getty Image
Website: The Daily Astorian